Mountlake Terrace Library Blog

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Book Buddies is Back

Our wonderful Book Buddies program is Back!

Teens...looking for a great volunteer opportunity this summer? Help a child improve their reading skills! You will get community service credit while having fun reading and playing games with a child who needs your help. Training will be Monday, June 21 at 4 p.m. and is required for teens to participate.

Parents...does your 2nd or 3rd grader need some reading encouragement? Are they a reluctant reader? Perhaps Book Buddies is for them! This program is a fun, confidence-building opportunity for your child to practice reading with a specially trained teen volunteer.

Book Buddies group sessions will be Monday afternoons from 3 to 4:30 pm, July 12 to August 23, 2010. August 30th we will celebrate our reader's achievements with a pool party the Mountlake Terrace Recreation Pavilion from 4-5:30 pm.

Space is limited, so fill out an application at the library today!

We thank the kind support of our wonderful Friends of the Mountlake Terrace Library, plus the Lynnwood Rotary Club, Half Price Books, and the Mountlake Terrace Recreation and Parks Department.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

People I Admire.


(I know I should talk about a religious figure or a president or someone like that, but I'm not going to. I'm the "Pop Culture Queen." I can't help it.)

I know that Oprah has fallen out of favor from time-to-time, but I have been a supporter since Day One, when in 1986 her Chicago talk show went into national syndication. Being a Michigander (yes, that's what we are called) and her show originating in Chicago, I was privy to early ads promoting the national syndication. There were weeks of promos before it aired, and I knew right away I would like her. I have missed few shows since VHS tapes came along and none since Tivo.

I have seen her weight go up and down, shared her teary moments and emotional "aha" moments.

And that is why Oprah has endured.

She may be one of the richest women in the world who wields enough power to become President herself (except Oprah's smart -she knows she has more power with a TV show and less aggravation), but we know she is one of us. She may have all that money, but it can't buy her a skinny body. She may be famous, but she shares her life as if she was our best girlfriend. (Actually I have always wished she was mine.) She has enlightened me on many topics, urged me to be empowered and given me ideas on how to better myself. And she uses her money for good.

My love for Oprah was well-known in my family. I remember one time when my children were young, I came home from work and announced to the family that Thursday nights would forever after be "Family Night." The TV would go off, and we would do things together as a family. My son sighed and asked, "Mom, have you been watching Oprah again? I hate Oprah!" But Family Night it was.

And now after 25 years, Oprah is ending her regular talk show reign to do other things, and I think the best is yet to come.

Paul McCartney.

I know he can be insufferable at times but, hey, he was a BEATLE! There are few female baby boomers who did not feel the allure of THE BEATLES!

I actually was able to see them in Detroit in 1964. I bought my tickets six months in advance and my girlfriend and I begged and begged her parents to take us to Detroit. Before the show, we hung out by a hotel where a bus was parked, and we were absolutely certain this was the getaway vehicle for the Fab Four. While we were doing that we missed the motorcade a block over!

When we got to Olympia Stadium, we found out there was something wrong with our tickets and our seats didn't exist. Oh, noooooooo... They asked us if we wanted our money back (Are you kidding me?) or did we want to sit in the press box? (Now you're talkin').

During the opening acts (Jackie DeShannon and The Blossoms ), I was staring at Paul McCartney's arm leaning up on the entrance to the stadium (I knew it was his arm because I recognized his ID bracelet - I told you I was a big fan). When they finally came out, they sang for 20 minutes, and we couldn't hear a thing because of the screaming. Didn't matter. We were there.

Anyway, I digress. I admire Sir Paul not just because he was a BEATLE and wrote some of the most enduring songs of all time. I admire him because despite his wealth and fame, he still wants to rock, he was a good husband and father, and he uses his money for good.

Audrey Hepburn.

It's difficult for me to believe that there is probably an entire younger generation who doesn't even know who she is. It makes me sad that the stars from the 1930's -1950's are almost forgotten. But in her time, she epitomized a kind of gamine elegance that was difficult to describe. Watch Breakfast at Tiffany's or Roman Holiday. She was elegant looking, elegant sounding and lived a life of not only elegance, but thoughtfulness and kindness. She didn't let her fans down through scandal and inappropriate behavior. It seems her only vice was smoking. When she died she was an ambassador for UNICEF. She died when she was only 64.

Elizabeth Taylor.

In my opinion, she was and is the most beautiful woman who ever lived.

I knew this even as a young girl. I remember writing her a fan letter and telling her I wished she was my mother (I hope my mother didn't know that). My parents, of course, did not approve of her at all because of "Le Scandal" and her many marriages (for the best book I have ever read on the Liz and Dick years read Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and the Marriage of the Century).

Eight marriages (twice to Richard Burton) shocked many people. But I have a theory about that. I believe that she married every man she ever loved (or thought she loved)because she didn't think it was right to just live with a man she wasn't married to. M-m-m. There is a certain morality to that.

My admiration for her stems not just from her beauty, but because she was the consummate movie actress and she had a sense of humor about herself. And when everyone was scared to death of AIDS, she was in the forefront raising money to fight it - and still is. Despite having more illnesses and injuries than most humans could stand, she has endured and is one of the last of the actresses of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Princess Diana.

Her death hit me hard. I stayed up all night to watch the funeral and the final procession to her resting place, crying my eyes out the whole time.

Why did it hit me so hard? I don't know exactly. I guess I just liked being in the world with her.

I have always been a Royal watcher. I got that from my Mom, I think, because I was born the same year as Prince Charles. She might have even had the thought her little girl could grow up to marry a prince. But instead Diana married him, and as we know now, it was like a lamb to the slaughter. But despite all of the sturm und drang and her personal unhappiness, she was able to make something of her life on her own and become not just a style icon, but "The People's Princess." A princess who was not afraid to touch a leper or an AIDS patient, who cuddled her young sons instead of treating them formally as Queen Elizabeth had treated Charles, who really did marry for love and who singlehandedly revitalized the English monarchy.


C'mon, you knew it was coming, didn't you?

But I really do admire the librarians that I know and have known.

They are certainly not in it for the money. Unless they are running a big library, most of them will never make a lot of money. They are in it because they care.

Every day I see librarians going the extra mile.

Where else can you go to ask a live human being to help you with your problems and expect to be greeted with a smile?

I see my colleagues spending the time to rescue a resume from a timed out computer; calling other libraries to unite a child with just the book he wanted; teaching an email class so a newcomer to the U.S can send an email to her son in Korea for the first time; planning just the right educational story times to help children get ready for school; finding that one book or article that makes a big difference in a customer's life; talking passionately to customers about really good reads; putting together free quality programs that families can share together; providing a Third Place for our communities.

All of this is just a day in the life of a librarian...because they love what they do and care about their communities.

Oprah, do you hear me?

I know you love teachers, and you have rewarded them by filling your audience with teachers for your annual Giveaway Show. I know you must like librarians, too, because you have promoted reading with your book picks.

So how about it?

Your next Giveaway Show should be for us librarians who are working hard providing the tools people need for these tough times.

We librarians need new washing machines, cars and weed wackers, too!

C'mon, Oprah. Have your producers call me! Remember, I am your biggest admirer...and I am a librarian!

Anyway, those are just a few people I admire. Now let's hear from you. Who do you most admire?

Monday, May 3, 2010

What My Mother Said

With Mother's Day just around the corner, I thought I would pay tribute to my mother by reflecting on the things she used to regularly say to me and that I didn't appreciate at the time. I am wondering if what she said holds up today.

"Stand up straight, Rosellen!"
We lived about two blocks from the high school and she would yell this at me as I slouched off to school. In my teenage angst, I felt nothing but humiliation.
But she was right. If you stand up straight and suck in your stomach, you will look at least five pounds thinner.

"Smile, Rosellen."
Again, teenage angst plays a role here. I didn't want to smile. I wanted to suffer Bergman style and talk about Sartre.
But I must confess, again she was right. Smiling makes us look much more approachable, which is important when you are in the customer service business.

"Stop sighing."
I did this alot. Rolling my eyes was also common. I was certain I knew way more than she did, and if she would only recognize that fact, we would get along much better. And did she always have to embarrass me so much?
I see now how sighing can be very annoying, since I have had to experience this from a mother's point of view.
Touche, Mom.

"Don't borrow trouble."
I think this was the 1950's equivalent to "Don't worry, be happy" or the glass half full theory. Not much talk about feelings in my family.
But trying to stay positive is probably good advice.

"Only crazy people talk to themselves."
I think this was something she said when she was talking to herself.
Not sure how right she was on this one, since I find myself talking to myself quite a bit, not to mention humming.

"Don't worry about me. You worry about yourself."
This was usually in response to our asking her how she was doing as we hauled her up a steep hill in San Francisco. I think she was in her 80's at the time.
I have since adopted this retort.

"If you read, you will never be lonely."
My mother wasn't what I would call a sophisticated reader, but she was a reader. Her reading habits leaned more toward the "Book of the Month Club" and the "Readers Digest Condensed Books." And every night my mother would sit out on our screened-in porch and read the evening paper. In the 70's, I gave her a gift of "Ms. Magazine," thinking I would raise her consciousness. Later she said I didn't need to resubscribe for her. She didn't care for the "bad language" in it. I think she missed the point.
But she was right about reading being a companion. If I am on my own, cuddled up with a good read, I may be alone, but I am not lonely.

"Let's go the library."
The Hackley Public Library in Muskegon, Michigan is an imposing three story structure built in 1888 with funds from Charles Hackley, a lumber baron. He gave so much money to the town of Muskegon that we celebrated Hackley Day and only had to go to school for a half day in celebration. In the morning there was a tribute to Hackley and then we had the afternoon off. We loved him for that. Who said money can't buy you love?

The children's room took up the entire second floor, and I remember the story times, sitting in a circle on a large rug while the librarian read us stories. Afterwards I would choose the Babar and Madeline books. For awhile, I was addicted to the "twins" series by Lucy Finch Perkins (The Dutch Twins, The Belgian Twins etc.). I don't think this series is popular anymore, but I have vivid memories of acting out the stories with my friend Chuckie.

My mother was the child of Swedish immigrants and the only one in her large family to finish high school. She valued education highly. And so she valued the library. I had a library card from a young age, and she took me to the story times regularly. She understood the importance of early learning and reading to prepare me for school. This was a time when preschools were not prevalent, so preparing your child for kindergarten was pretty much up to the parents.

Today the library is still dedicated to this goal.

The National Research Council recommends that children enter school with specific early literacy skills that serve as the foundation for learning to read and write. Children with more of these skills are better able to master reading when they start school.

Narrative Skills - Tell stories together, encourage pretend play, and let your child be a storyteller

Letter Knowledge - Help your child identify the first letter in his/her name and find it in books, on street signs and package labels.

Print Awareness - Help your child discover how to hold a book and turn the pages

Vocabulary - Teach your child the specific names of things, like vegetables at the grocery store.

Print Motivation - Find books that speak to your child's interests and share them often.

Phonological Awareness - Sing songs, play games and share rhymes to help your child play with the smaller sounds in words.

And teaching these skills is an integral part of the story times available free to families at the library.

The Mountlake Terrace Library also provides baby story times, toddler play and learn sessions in partnership with The Little Red School House and story times in Spanish and Russian.

My mother understood that reading to her child, encouraging her to play pretend, handling books, singing songs, and playing games were all fundamental to my being prepared to start school, and she looked to her public library to help with this even then. I am happy to say we are continuing that work.

When my mother said, "Let's go to the library," she knew she was providing her daughter with a head start in school. What she didn't know was that she was planting the seed that would give her daughter a most challenging and rewarding career.

So, Mom, you might not have thought I heard what you said when I was growing up, but I did.

Thanks, Mom. Happy Mother's Day.